U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION

ORDER
JO 7400.2J
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012
 
     

Subject:  Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters
Includes:  Change 3 effective 8/22/13, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, Change 1 effective 7/26/12 and  Errata effective 2/9/12.

 

Section 2. Processing of Proposals

31-2-1. SERVICE AREA OFFICE REVIEW

a. The service center office responsible for the launch's geographical area must process waiver requests for amateur rocket activities. When a proposal overlaps service area geographical jurisdictions, the affected service area office must coordinate to determine which office will serve as the lead service area office for processing the proposal. Coordination between service area offices is also required when the affected geographical area and the ATC controlling agency are under the jurisdiction of different service area offices.

b. Service area offices must coordinate with the responsible military representative and ensure that all affected ATC facilities review the proposal and provide input to the aeronautical review, as required.

c. If the proposal requires FAA Headquarters review, submit to AJV-11 the documentation of service area office coordination, affected ATC facility comments, and any other information pertinent to the case.

d. As part of the rocket operation review process performed by the service area office, or those facilities delegated waiver authority, coordination must be effected with the Central Altitude Reservation Function (CARF), an element of the David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC). This coordination is to ensure that any system impact(s) that may result from the requested operation are identified and resolved before a waiver is issued.

31-2-2. AERONAUTICAL REVIEW

The following information should be used as a guide for the conduct of an aeronautical review of amateur rocket operations.

a. An aeronautical review of any amateur rocket operation must be conducted to determine if there are aeronautical impacts to be considered or resolved.

b. Amateur rocket operations must be categorized based on their operational characteristics and purpose of flight. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, size, total weight, propulsion, rocket motor design, and hardware design materials. The class of the rocket will determine which parts of 14 CFR part 101 provisions will apply. It is the responsibility of the sponsor of the rocket activity to determine the appropriate rocket class.

NOTE-
Part 101 rocket launch proposals that are a part of a competition for prize money will be reviewed by AST. Those proposals must be sent to AJV-11 for processing.

31-2-3. HEADQUARTERS REVIEW OF WAIVER REQUESTS TO 14 CFR PART 101

a. Proposals for amateur rockets that are expected to reach altitudes higher than 25,000 feet above ground level, (conducted outside of restricted airspace) must be forwarded to AJV-11 for coordination with AST.

b. The submission to AJV-11 should include the following (as applicable):

1. A brief overview of the proposal. The service area office should only forward those requests for which they intend to grant waivers.

2. A summary of any amendments made to the original proposal in response to negotiations to mitigate impacts, etc.

3. A sectional aeronautical chart depicting the final boundaries of the proposed airspace area.

4. A copy of the proponent's launch request correspondence and proposal package.

5. A copy of the aeronautical review and the service area office recommendation.

6. Copies of pertinent correspondence from other FAA offices (e.g., Flight Standards, Airports, adjacent service area office, affected ATC facilities).

7. Any other information that is relevant to the proposed operation, such as rocket/launch-vehicle propulsion, physical dimensions and weight, total impulse and burn time of the motor(s), launch site location, planned flight path/trajectory, including staging and impact locations.

NOTE-
Part 101 contains a list of required information for those operations that require a waiver.

c. AJV-11 will coordinate the proposal with AST-200 for review.

d. Upon completion of the AST-200 review, AJV-11 will forward the results to the service area office. For the proposals that have received favorable recommendations the service area office may issue the waiver to part 101 to the sponsor of the rocket activity and provide a copy to AJV-11.

31-2-4. CONTROLLING AGENCY

The FAA ATC facility having control jurisdiction over the airspace where the rocket/launch-vehicle is projected to enter must be designated as the controlling agency. The controlling agency will be responsible for ensuring that any temporary airspace (e.g., TFRs, ALTRVs) is activated when the launch operations are imminent, including any applicable downrange and terminal airspace.

31-2-5. AIRSPACE CONSIDERATION FOR LAUNCH OPERATIONS

Proponents conducting Class 2 or Class 3 amateur rocket launches must provide advance notice to the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR section 101.27. Those proponents must ensure the safety of persons and property on the ground and of aircraft flying nearby. Conversely, rockets that will enter controlled airspace must be integrated with other users of the NAS and be segregated from nonparticipating aircraft to ensure safety.

a. Amateur rockets may not require sterile airspace. In these cases, the proponent and/or the service area office must:

1. Ensure that the activity is confined within the launch site area.

2. Ensure that adequate safety precautions are in place for each launch site. Specific precautionary measures established to protect nonparticipating aircraft, persons, and property will depend on various factors such as the type of activity, terrain, launch site dimensions, etc.

3. Cease activity immediately upon observation or notification that a nonparticipating aircraft is approaching the area. Surveillance by ground observers must be continuously maintained immediately prior to and during the time that the activity is in progress to ensure adequate coverage of the required area. If required by the service area office, observers must have real-time communication capability (radio, cellular phones, etc.) with the FAA facility to ensure a cease-fire can occur immediately. The activity may resume only after the nonparticipating aircraft are clear of the area and will not interfere with launch operations.

b. Existing restricted area airspace may be used only if permission has been granted by the using agency or controlling agency, as appropriate. The responsibility is on the proponent to obtain the required permission.

c. Temporary flight restrictions (TFR) for space flight operations (SFO) as described in Section 91.143 may be used to segregate nonparticipating aircraft from rocket/space launch operations.

d. An altitude reservation (ALTRV) may be used but only to sterilize Class A airspace within which it operates. ALTRVs do not sterilize airspace below Class A airspace.

e. When sterile airspace is used to support rocket/launch-vehicle operations, the dimensions and times of use of that airspace must be the minimum required to contain the proposed activities, including required safety zones. When it is determined that the airspace is no longer required, the service area office, using agency, or the appropriate military authority providing the airspace must initiate action to release that airspace to the NAS.

f. Launch sites should be located in areas that will minimize the impact on nonparticipating aircraft and ATC operations. To the extent practical, plan launch sites, and rocket/launch-vehicle trajectories to avoid airways/jet routes, major terminal areas, and known high-volume VFR routes.

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